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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Ezra

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7.1–10.44 : Second stage of reconstruction: the mission of Ezra and the formation of communityaccording to the Torah in 458 BCE.

7.1–10 : The narrator's introduction of Ezra.

1–6 :

Ezra's long pedigree establishes his impeccable credentials as priest of the most distinguished line and scribe—the two roles that will account for his stature and acceptance within the Jewish community.

1 :

Probably Artaxerxes I (465–424 BCE); see Introduction.

5 :

Chief priest may refer to Ezra as well.

6 :

Scribe, a highly educated person, often in an important advisory position to kings. Skilled in the law of Moses, knowledgeable about the Torah.

7 :

Israel … priests … Levites, Ezra's caravan includes the same basic groups as Ezra 2 . The seventh year of king Artaxerxes, 458 BCE.

8 :

The fifth month, August.

9 :

The first day of the first month, April. Although the dates may be symbolic, reflecting the Exodus from Egypt in the first month and the destruction of the Temple in the fifth, five months would be a reasonable time for a journey of about 1,600 km (1,000 mi).

10 :

Ezra's goals of studying, teaching, and implementing the Torah account for his subsequent actions.

7.11–26 : Royal introduction of Ezra and his mission

(in Aramaic). This final Aramaic royal letter establishes Ezra's credentials within the Persian bureaucratic structures. It reauthorizes immigration to Judah (v. 13 ) and royal subsidy for the Temple (vv. 14–24 ). It refers to the Torah but does not overly emphasize it; in fact, in v. 26 it is mentioned alongside royal law.

14 :

Seven counselors, Persian royal advisers (see Esth 1.14 and Herodotus Histories 3.84). The law of your God, the book of the Torah.

15–19 :

The royal privileges include financial support for the Temple by the king himself, voluntary contributions from Babylonian Jews for the Temple, and a free hand to use the surplus.

20 :

Virtually a blank check, showing the king's great trust in Ezra.

21–24 :

A generous year's supply of provisions for the Temple.

21 :

Additional support from local officials.

22 :

For the equivalents of the talent, cor, and bath, see Weights and Measures, p. 534 ES .

24 :

Tax exemption for Temple personnel.

25 :

All the people, probably means Jews in the province.

26 :

Ezra's comprehensive authority affirmed. The crucial phrase, the law of your God and the law of the king, sets the Torah as legally authoritative for the Jewish community in Yehud. Something akin to religious autonomy and self‐rule in matters of religion is implied.

7.27–9.15 : Ezra's memoirs.

The text resumes in Hebrew.

7.27–8.36 : Ezra's journey and arrival.

27–28 :

An expression of gratitude to God, rather than to the king.

8.1–20 :

Ezra's caravan numbers almost 1,500 men (women are not mentioned); like Ezra 2 , the list mingles clan names and place names, though some individuals are also singled out. The twelve groups symbolize the twelve tribes.

2 :

A listing of the most important individuals of priestly and Davidic descent. Hattush, 1 Chr 3.22 mentions a descendant of David with this name, though nothing further is reported about him. Davidic descendants remained in Babylonia after the return to Judah had begun; at this point, the leadership of Ezra, and later that of Nehemiah, replaces aspirations for a restored Davidic monarchy.

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